BOS - March 27, 2007 Budget Workshop

BOS - March 27, 2007 Budget Workshop

Postby Suzanne Kane » Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:51 am

Douglas Board of Selectmen
Budget Workshop Minutes - March 27, 2007
Approved October 16, 2007

Call to Order:
Madam Chair Shirley Mosczynski called the workshop to order at 6:28 pm in the Resource Room at the Municipal Center.
In attendance: Paula Brouillette-Vice Chair, Mitch Cohen, Mike Hughes, Executive Administrator Michael Guzinski and Administrative Assistant Suzanne Kane.
Others: Police Chief Patrick Foley

- Police: Department Over-view/Proposal for Two New Officers (Handout): Mike G – Recommended it would be beneficial for the Chief to give a brief over view of how this would affect the overall plan, budget, operations of the department and answer any questions. Chief Foley – Most of the budget is currently locked into contracts and negotiations. Another session held today and discussion came up about adding positions. Hopefully we can get the Union to give and take on some concessions. Five years back we started adding full time positions. Three years in a row we were going to add a full time position and deplete the part timers which was contingent on over ride last year that was defeated.
- Back in January I gave a five year plan to add six full time positions and have only one part timer who has been with us almost 30 years. Days of having part time employees is not what it used to be.
- Another issue is liability.
- Currently:13 full timers, staff between 8 and 10 part timers that we have to make sure they’re trained and certified.
- Day shift running short by one officers December 2005 disability that has not been filled, retirement papers submitted, most likely be within the next 3 months.
- Department received 11,000 calls for services last year with 391 varied arrests.
- Last year “Operation Clean Sweep” (narcotics) resulted in 20 plus arrests.
- Motor vehicle crashes down, more emphasis on police visibility.
- Almost 3,400 citations issued-half for speeding, the number one complaint.
- Receiving grants, although small used for: Upgrading cruisers with voice activated lap tops so officers can do their work in the field, Upgrading our telephone system, Outfitted the department with computers, Created our own interview room-under new mass laws every interview has to be video and audio taped, Identity theft booklet created, Maintain training yearly, Child Seat Technician position-a lot of calls from parents making sure their child’s seat is installed properly, DARE and Officer Phil Programs continued.
This year we have a resource officer that 25% of his time is dedicated at the High School from a $5500. grant they received. He has an office and spends approximately eight hours a week there, depending on the schools needs. Positive feedback from the principal, something that should’ve been done awhile ago. Hoping to receive more grant money to expand this to a full time position that will over see all three schools.

Additional Staffing-Looking to gain the position I had, add another and stay within the budget by reduction in the part time staff. Believe I can basically fund 75% of those two positions from the budget I have now.


FY 2008 Budget reviewed (Handout): Chief Foley thanked Paula for sitting in on the discussion last week and the Boards’ support. Here for 12 years, work within the budget, manage the department and have a good core group. The Town is growing and demands we’re getting are not what we had ten years ago.
Chief Foley left at 6:51 pm.

Mike G - reviewed the following:
- MSBA Re-imbursements:
Working with Jeanne and Sharon regarding reimbursement. Sharon is rapping up questions and issues on the interest with them making sure we all have the same numbers.
- School Modular Units: Worked with Jeanne to successfully bring back $75,000 to be included within the project. Brings us to $20,000 away from maxing out.
- Conservation-Community Bulletin Board: Meeting scheduled April 17th. Waiver needed for the permit to dig a trench for the electricity, it’s within 100’ of wetlands. Will check with Mr. Brotherton making sure those quotes are still accurate and will get it in writing.
- Call from Sheriff Guy Glodis’ Office: They received the letter and willing to come out in May to work on both projects.
- Fire Union Contract: Received signed copies. Copy will be put in the Board’s packets.
- Chapter 43D-Request/Hal Davis EDC Chair: Email received, requesting the Board consider putting this Article on the Warrant, copy put in Boards folders. Contact Hal for more information, Bill to exactly identify the parcels and request Town Counsel’s guidance for this new issue.
- MOU North Village-Draft: Putting together for Town and Special Town Meeting Warrants. Email to the Board by end of Friday.
- Nancy Lane-Superintendent & Dean Iaccobucci-School Business Manager: Meet April 3rd to discuss getting a vote of the Boards’ support on a possible addition to the Elementary School and repair/renovation to the Immediate Elementary. Paperwork needs to be submitted to the State by June 30th. Will have to request a waiver for the Elementary from MSBA, as work was done within the last ten years but is in serious need of help.

- Mitch – Subletting Upstairs: Plan from the School Committee to bring in an outside vendor to run school related services which would be another tenant of this building. This will affect parking, use of the gym, insurance and maintenance of the building. Mike G – Will bring this up at meeting with Nancy and Dean tomorrow.

Mike G - Budget Review (Handouts): Some assistance from Town Accountant.
Reviewed the list of program changes with approximate costs for FY07 to FY08 and budget changes that have been made since the budget books issued.
- Draft FY06, FY07 and FY08 (Governor’s):
Bottom line pretty much the same except: Blackstone Valley Debt Exclusion and Snow/Ice Deficit ($50,000). Will check with John, Highway Superintendent on the final figure. Other:
Community Development Secretary: Increase in Hours
Fire Department Secretary: Increase in Hours
COA Outreach Coordinator: Increase in Hours
Library: Increase in Hours
Veterans: New Location/Renovations
BV Tech Level Funded: Lack of Douglas Enrollment
Regional Animal Control w/Uxbridge and Mendon: Town of Mendon putting together a
Draft Agreement. Recommend we eliminate the Animal Control Revolver and
enforce licensing fees.
Paula- Snow & Ice: Mike G- will talk to John to get the numbers. Only had two storms but they were major ones.
Certified Free Cash Breakdown: Where it has been spent to date and what’s remaining.
Six Pages of Updated Budget Breakdown Reviewed: Columns on the right show the percent change and where the trends are. Not many unusual changes.
Housing Authority: Increase for the printing of “Douglas Residents Resource Guide”
Fire & Ambulance: Contract related-call back Fire Fighters. Ambulance fees
Building Department Stipends: Adelle did a survey of area towns and found we were below the average fee for the plumbing and electrical inspectors. There either hasn’t been a change in a long time or none at all. She offered to attend a meeting if requested
ZBA: Paula- Requested analysis be done. Mike G – Spoke to Colin, the board meets April 12th, Mike requested they discuss consultant/attorney costs vs fees. Shirley- A breakdown was requested of what developers were charged
Education: Sharon has been working to get that budget more accurate. Needs more information from the school: payroll and number of employees. Open enrollment closes on Thursday.

Budget Scenario: Mike G – Worked with Jeanne. A lot of ‘ifs” and requires a lot of discussion. Current Budget Deficit: ($1,131,780) Use of Available Free Cash?
General Government and Schools: Limited to a 5.4% FY08 budget increase/reduction
General Government Reductions: John always co-operates. If Cemetery needs supplies Highway will help
COLA: Will send a letter to Personnel Board recommending 2 ½% across the board for FY08

Expenditures Summary Review: Excluding Retirement, Unemployment Debt, Employee
Benefits & Insurance. Jeanne has done a breakdown of the numbers based on the original requests and changes based on 5.4%. Excludes self-supporting programs.
Ambulance Receipts Reserved for Appropriation: Transfer Out increasing steadily. Now adding debt of the ambulance. Consideration of adding an EMT would have to go on the General Government side.
Free Cash: Mike G- Amount the Board is comfortable applying toward the budget, any questions or issues about the programs added to the budget or any reduction in current services. Would like to give Dean and Nancy a number we’re looking at for tomorrow’s meeting. Used $600,000 from free cash last year, the less you have to use the better, have to look at how we’re moving forward long term financially for the Town and this is what we’re going to do. Right now we’re at 5.4%. Through review found that most Towns goal is to reach and maintain 5% of their operating budget in their Stabilization Account for emergencies. For us-$1.1 million. Need the Boards’ feedback based on that, further review or cuts. The School will also have to look long term financially.
Discussion: All agreed Don’t particularly like to use all of Free Cash, we should wean quicker. If our goal is $1.1 million, we could in theory pay for Capital another year and a half, but don’t see it helping reach the goal we expect to. If anything improves from the State it will probably be Chapter 70, want to make sure the money received, we feel the surplus equally with the School. Any increases in local aid in any account is shared equally. Frustration with the State not knowing what the numbers are going to be like.
Have to look at salaries with COLA’s and Steps consuming most of our new growth. Would like to see an additional scenario-take free cash and split it half and half to support the budget and an analysis where it came from. Over ride last year failed. There may not be a Prop 2 ½ over ride in this Town for years to come. Try to balance some Free Cash and some Stabilization to keep our Capital Program healthy. We have to look at finding sources of revenue like setting fees to where they should be for those appropriate costs and get health insurance under some control. Need the school’s co-operation on that. We just don’t have the revenues to keep up with the expectations of the employees you have.
Mike G- Free Cash Policy states it should be used for one time expenditure. I can show the reduction numbers easy enough. Where those cuts are made is more tricky and going to come to tough decisions.
Will let the School know the Board’s looking at free cash usage of $330,000 or $500,000 and want to fund at least half Capital projects with the remaining Free Cash if you agree. We’ve tried since I’ve been here to reduce the amount of Free Cash used as much as possible. Have decreased from $900,000 and think if we could get it down to $500,000 we’d be moving in the right direction at the same time not make cuts. Budgets go up every, by some means we have no control over and if you ease your way out of it that’ll free up money to pay almost half the capital projects. Obviously the pain will be deeper with the school and relay our policy is to wean us off Free Cash for operational purposes.
Program Changes: There’s nothing that’s not needed. Programs are justified. We’ll go through budget by budget, take some time and work with Jeanne and find the $32,000. If we get funding from the State we’ll reinstate the programs. Also look at Health Insurance, that doesn’t come under our Town costs it’s a fixed cost shared. If you cut a person than you have to pay unemployment.

FinCom: Scheduled for April 2nd with all departments and invite Dr. Fitzpatrick, try to rap up the budget work on the 9th, hearing on the 18th and meet again on the 19th to make their recommendations and vote on the budget and warrant articles.

Future Meetings: Next Tuesday, April 3rd at 6:00 pm to talk about the budget and recommended cuts to talk about the $32,000, feedback from the School, and on the 10th at 6:00 recommend signing the warrant. Pam is anxious to get recommendations from the Board. Will also have the draft warrant and recommend signing it on the 10th. Make sure it’s publicly announced on the meeting on the 17th.


Adjournment- Mitch Cohen at 8:54 pm. Seconded – Mike Hughes. All - aye.

Respectfully Submitted:



Jane L. Alger
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